member services


The ballots for this year's election will be sent out in the week of April 3rd, 2017. Members will be asked to elect three positions on the executive board.


Executive Board: Three-year terms beginning January 1, 2018

Position 1: History and Social Sciences 

Margaret Eleanor Menninger (Ph.D. Harvard University, 1998) is NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities and Associate Professor of History at Texas State University where she has taught since 2000. Her research focuses on cultural philanthropy in Germany during the long nineteenth century, the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk in German studies and pedagogy, and historical theory. Her most recent publications are a co-edited volume entitled: The Total Work of Art: Foundations, Articulations, Inspirations (Berghahn Books, 2016), thirteen articles in The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia (2013), and “The Classroom as a ‘Total Work of Art’: Pedagogy, Performance and Gesamtkunstwerk,” in Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal Vol. 3/No. 3 (2011). She is working on two book projects, completing A Serious Matter and True Joy: Philanthropy, the Arts, and the State in Nineteenth-Century Leipzig and beginning Hearing Voices and Seeing Things: Aural and Visual Theories of History. Menninger served as Program Director for the German Studies Association Annual meetings in 2014 and 2015. She has further served on the Program Committee as Session Coordinator for the 2011 and 2012 meetings, and regularly attends as a paper presenter and commentator. She served as editor for H-German 2007-2008.


Donna Harsch (Ph.D. Yale University, 1987) is Professor and Head of the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a scholar of modern Germany with particular interest in social-political history, gender history and the history of health and health policy. She is the author of two monographs: German Social Democracy and the Rise of Nazism, 1928-1933 (The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) and Revenge of the Domestic: Women, the Family, and Communism in the German Democratic Republic, 1945-1970 (Princeton University Press, 2007). She has completed the research for a monograph on infant mortality in the FRG and GDR. Recent articles have investigated discourse and policy toward TB in the GDR, on the one hand, and smoking and disease in the FRG, on the other. She has published articles in American Historical Review, Social History, Central European History, Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, Social History of Medicine, and Bulletin of the History of Medicine. She is on the editorial board of Central European History. She has presented papers, organized panels, and served as commentator or moderator at German Studies Association conferences since the early 1990s.


Position 2: History and Social Sciences

Thomas Lekan (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999) is an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina with a joint appointment in the Department of History and the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. He is the author of Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2004), co-editor with Thomas Zeller of Germany's Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History (Rutgers University Press, 2005), and co-editor with Robert Emmett of the open-source anthology Whose Anthropocene? Revisiting Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Four Theses of Climate History (2016), part of the Munich-based Rachel Carson Center's Transformations in Environment and Society series. His second monograph Last Refuge: On the 'Strange German' Quest to Save the Serengeti, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. His essays, articles, and reviews on German, East African, and international environmental history, environmental humanities, and critical approaches to sustainable development and environmental justice have appeared in The Journal of Modern History, German History, Environmental Humanities, New German Critique, the publication series of the Bundesamt für Naturschutz, and the University of Oklahoma's blog Inhabiting the Anthropocene. A former director of the University of South Carolina's History Center, he has been a member of the GSA since 1999. He co-founded both the Southeast German Studies Consortium, which celebrated its ten-year anniversary of workshops and symposia in 2017, and the GSA Environmental Studies network with Katharina Gerstenberger of the University of Utah in 2012.


Jesse Spohnholz (Ph.D. University of Iowa, 2004) is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program at Washington State University. He also holds a research post at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and has previously been a research fellow at the H. Henry Meeter Center, and a visiting professor at Grinnell College. His books include The Tactics of Toleration: A Refugee Community in the Age of Religious Wars (University of Delaware Press, 2011), The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and (as coeditor) Exile and Religious Identity, 1500–1800 (Pickering and Chatto, 2014) and Archaeologies of Confession: Writing the German Reformation, 1517–2017 (Berghahn, 2017). He has been awarded the Gerald Strauss Book Prize in German Reformation History, the Fritz Stern Prize in German History, and the Harold J. Grimm Prize in Reformation Studies. He has published widely on the social practices of toleration in Reformation-era Germany and the Netherlands, experiences of religious refugees during Europe’s Age of Religious Wars, the gender of the Reformation, International Calvinism, and historical memory of the Reformation, including in Past & Present, Immigrants & Minorities, Sixteenth Century Journal, and Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History. His new project (with Mirjam van Veen), Rhineland Exiles and Religious Landscape of the Dutch Republic, was awarded a six-year €750,000 grant from the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research. He also completing work on a smartphone app, Radweg der Toleranz, introducing the material culture of religious coexistence in the post-Reformation Lower Rhine of Germany, and writing on a book, Refugee Crises in Historical Perspective, as part of Oxford University Press’s new series (which he also co-edits), The Roots of Contemporary Issues: Connecting the Global Past and Present. He has chaired prize committees for the German Historical Institute and the Sixteenth Century Society. He has also served as a session coordinator for the German Studies Association conference, and co-organized a series of panels at the GSA that was the basis for his coedited collection in Berghahn’s Spektrum Series.


Position 3: Literature/Cultural Studies

Christina Gerhardt (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005; Humboldt Universität, 1998, UC-Berkeley, 1997) is Assistant Professor of German and Graduate Faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she teaches contemporary German Studies, Environmental Humanities and Film. She has been the recipient of grants from the Fulbright Commission (2014, 2007-2008), the DAAD (2015, 2014, 2011, 2008) and Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (2009). She has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University (2008-2010) and at Harvard University's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (2008) and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin (2006-2007). In 2004, she received the German Historical Institute Young Scholar Award. Previously, she taught at the University of California at Berkeley (2000-2006). She is the author of Critique of Violence: The Trauma of Terrorism (Bloomsbury, 2017); the co-editor of 1968 and Global Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2018); the co-editor with Marco Abel of Celluloid Revolt: Screen Cultures and the Long Sixties (Camden House, 2018); the guest editor of a special issue devoted to 1968 and West German Cinema of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture 10 (2017); and the guest editor of a special issue devoted to Adorno and Ethics of New German Critique 97 (2016), nominated by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for the 2006 Best Special Issue Award. She is the author of over two dozen articles on post-1945 German cinema; on Environmental Humanities; and on the Frankfurt School and especially on Adorno. Those articles have appeared in Cineaste, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, German Studies Review, Mosaic, New German Critique, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video and The Sixties, as well as in other venues and edited volumes.
She was appointed to be a member of the PMLA (Publication of the MLA) Advisory Committee (2016-2019); elected to serve on the MLA Delegate Assembly (2018-2020); and elected to serve on the MLA Executive Committee on Screen Arts and Culture (2015-2020). She has been a regular member and conference participant at the GSA, also serving as commentator or moderator, since graduate school. Additionally, she serves on the GSA Interdisciplinary Network on Environmental Studies Committee (2017-2019); and has chaired the DAAD Article Prize Award of the GSA (2017); chaired the GSA Graduate Student Essay Prize (2016); and served as Co-coordinator of the 20th and 21st Century German and Cultural Studies Conference Program Committee (2014-2015).


Sabine von Dirke (Ph.D. Stanford University, 1991; M.A. Washington University, 1985) is Associate Professor of German at the University of Pittsburgh. Her education included the study of History (major), Political Science and Empirical Cultural Studies (minors) at the University of Tübingen and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University (1994-1995). Her scholarship is situated at the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities. Her current research explores the negotiation of the neoliberal agenda in German and European cultural discourse with special emphasis on immaterial labor, i.e. white color employees. (See recent article: “Time’s Deadly Arrow: Time and Temporality in Narratives of Immaterial Labor.” Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature. 40.2 Summer 2016:; Globalization, Literature, Film and the New Economy. Seminar: Journal of Germanic Studies. 47.4 (Fall 2011) co-edited with David Coury). Other published research (The German Studies Review, The Germanic Review, Seminar anthologies edited by scholars in the US and Europe), explores transatlantic pop-cultural synergies in music (German New Wave, German Hip Hop) as well as literature (Pop Literature of the 1990s), intra-European and global migration, West German counter-cultural developments (monograph: All Power to the Imagination!” The West German Counterculture from the Student Movement to the Greens, 1997) and left-wing politically motivated violence (RAF). She has attended the GSA conference regularly as a presenter, moderator or commentator since1993 and was one of two section coordinators for 20th and 21st Century Germanistik and German Film for the GSA conference 2011 in Louisville, Kenntucky as well as a member of the GSA’s Nomination Committee. At the University of Pittsburgh, she has served as the Chair of the German Department (1999-2001, 2005-2006) and as the Associate Director of the Humanities Center (2012-2014). She is committed to developing strong undergraduate and graduate curricula in the field of German Studies across the disciplines and schools. At Pitt, she has spear-headed the curricular initiative of the 18 credit Certificate in German Language as an alternative for students in other fields (School of Engineering, College of Business Administration). The European Studies Center at Pitt commissioned her and provided funding for a sequence of two advanced German-language courses for social scientists as part of Pitt’s most recent and successful application for Title VI funding. Both of these German-language courses qualify for General Education Credits (Historical Change, Social Change). She has repeatedly received Pitt-specific grants for conducting research abroad.



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